Friday, December 5, 2008

Liger Lady

I took this one awhile ago. This was actually taken with my cheap point & shoot. Some photoshop was applied to lomographize (not a word) the photo a bit. Photo taken at Old Westbury Gardens.

Monday, December 1, 2008

An Equipped Camera

(This post has been backdated to drop it further down the blog - list originally compiled in 2009, updated constantly)

I wanted to create a post that linked to all equipment that I use and recommend. You can also check out additional posts that focus specifically on equipment and equipment issues.
[Most of the linked equipment is specifically for Canon bodies.]

Camera Armor
A Must have accessory to protect your investment. I dont even have to think twice about scratches, scrapes, sand, and even a little bit of moisture.

(A friend of mine ordered one for an Xsi, and it was not of the same quality as the one for the Xti - so I can't vouch for that one. He returned it)

Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens
I didn't know it was possible to feel love for a lens. I use this lens for maybe 85% of the photos I take.

Telephoto Lens
I own the Tamaron 70-300mm Lens with Macro, its a workable telephoto lens if you need something very inexpensive. Don't expect super quality optics but its a well-made sturdy lens that works. Its a good value in this kit with the UV filter and other junk.

I do not own the Canon 55-250mm lens, but if I found it first I would have bought it. For the price difference (around $100), you are adding the Canon brand and quality and most importantly - Image Stabilization. My photographic mentor (Jkirlin) has the top review of this lens on Amazon and highly recommends it.

67" Monopod
A very inexpensive but well built monopod; and comes with a case also. You may want to invest a bit more when you are going to buy a tripod, but for a monopod I cant imagine anything built more solid. The only downside is a lack of a swivel (or ball) joint head.

Canvas Military/Camera Bag
This is the bag I use as a camera bag. It required some modifications to protect the camera and to work a little better; but its a very convenient bag especially if you don't like 'off the rack' camera bags emblazoned with a "Canon" ("steal me") logo. You can read about my modifications.

Right-Angle Lens Adapter
This is a great lens add-on for taking candid photos of strangers in public. It is a bit challenging to use sometimes, but its a fun accessory especially for the camera shy or the shy photographer. You'll need to buy a couple of the filter adapters to fit your lenses. I typically use this with my 70-300mm lens because it best allows for recomposition necessary when shooting at tricky angles.

I use and recommend the Lensbaby (2.0 version seems suitable, but the newer ones are pretty cool). I certainly don't have it down, but I would definitely recommend Lensbaby for a more advanced user. It is a completely manual lens - so you need to have a good understanding of aperture, shutterspeed, light metering. You'll also need a steady hand for manual focusing

PhatStrap Wrist Strap
You can read my post and see some photos here. I'm not a fan of neck straps, I find the camera gets in your way of doing other things (when you're not taking photos). Phatstraps are great, they are hand-made and custom and available in a bevy of designs. They now also offer some great accessory bundles/kits with a lens cozy, wrist strap and neck strap.

This is absolutely one of the best books for learning the basics of photography. Don't let the title throw you off, this isnt a book about lighting. It will help you learn the basics (and master the advanced) aspects of your DSLR (or SLR) camera and its settings. Lots of photos, and an easy read. Will give you a great understanding of F-Stops, Shutter Speed, ISO, Depth of Field, and much more.

There are so many things to spend money on in photography. So I employ the free options whenever possible. Here are a couple of free 'hacks' that I have used to actually build some of my own equipment.
  • Flash diffuser. If you dont have an add-on flash but you actually use the flash built into your camera sometimes - you've gotta make one of these. It could be easier. Its a flash diffuser made from an old film canister.
  • If you do any type of time value photography - extended shutter speeds and what not, you need a tripod. But if you are using a tripod and have a long shutter you'll also need a remote control. You can build one yourself for about a dollar.
You cant beat free. And if it wasnt free I'd pay for it. Google's Picasa is hands down one of the easiest to use image editors out there. Its got a super slick interface. It keeps your pics full res automatically. Touch-ups, lighting adjustments, and cropping are incredibly easy. The creative filters just work perfectly. One of the best features of it is that your original file is always preserved and you can undo everything if you need to.

I am a Walmart stock holder. Why? Because I love Walmart. And one of my favorite things about Walmart (aside from helping people 'Save Money to Live Better') is their photo printing services. Who doesnt live near a Walmart? You upload online, pics are ready in an hour, and better yet - they are cheaper than ANYONE. I've never had less than stellar quality with my prints large and small.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dirty Oysters

Taken with my new Lensbaby 2.0 (still trying to figure out correct exposure on this lens). Taken at the 2008 Oyster Bay Festival. Kinda grimey scene... didn't stop me from eating them.

Orange you glad I didnt say Yellow

50mm f/1.8 lens. I took this pic while walking, with my hand dangling by my hip carrying the camera.

I'm all ears

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fast O.F.s

Just some blurry O.F.s (Ole' Foggies) seemingly walking real fast. I wasnt aiming for them, I was just shooting from the hip, like AC DC tells me to. This is testing out my new Lensbaby (selective focus) lens.

Bent bowls

Nice colors. In an antique store.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wire Bouquet

This was actually an uprooted lamp post. It is actually positioned in front of bleachers at a baseball field. Doesn't look safe to me, but I'm not an electrician.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Good for the Gander

@209mm @ Eisenhower Park @ a safe distance from the geese

Monday, September 1, 2008

What a Crack Pot

Taken at 'Planting Fields', the Coe Estate in Oyster Bay.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beauty and the Beach

Long Beach, Long Island, New York around sunset time. 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Motown Philly and back again

I ventured off to Philly to see a concert this past weekend. The concert was actually just across the river, but I took in some sights while near Philadephia.

(The above all photographed from the Duck Tour Boat/Bus)

(Above photo is submission for 'kitsch')

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Absolutely Gorges.

After the 2008 Fingerlakes Wine Festival, I stopped by at Watkins Glen State Park. If you're ever in upstate New York, particularly in the middle-of-nowhere stop by and check out the gorges. And if you're ever up there in July, you definitely must check out the Fingerlakes Wine Festival.

Here are some photos from the gorges.

Gorgeous (gorges) Shutter Speed

I took some photos at Watkins Glen Gorges in upstate New York. The area was beautiful, but it was an overcast day and kinda dim in the gorges. I'm still learning about exposure, and camera-shake, and all that. Thus... I did not get many photos that were crisp or blogworthy - but I wanted to post up some experimental photos to show what shutter-speed adjustments can do.
Camera's auto settings of 1/60sec at F/5.6

Shutter priority mode (tV) set at 1/4 sec and f/20.

I had an ND filter on standby, but this was a shady area and was unnecessary. I didn't have a tripod so this was just loosely propped on a wall. The second photo isnt as crisp but its not bad. I definitely like the whispy look of the water streaming, over the 'frozen-in-action' shot above it.

Auto-settings: 1/80sec F/7.1

Shutter priority: 1/5sec F/25

The difference is much more dramatic in the second set of photos.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Getting Fired and Worked up.

A rather impressive fireworks show outside of Nassau Coliseum. Most of these photos were taken with around 3 second exposure, on a tripod.

View these full screen and save one as your desktop background. After that, don't say I never gave you anything. (They look much better at full resolution, for real, try it out)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


O.F. = Ol' Foggie. Used in a sentence: This Ol' Foggie had no idea I was taking a picture of him. I shot this one from the hip, it would be better composed if I had his feet in it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Back from Vacation

So I'm back fresh from a vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I brought my camera along but I'll admit there weren't many photographic revelations made there. I chose relaxation on the beach over souvenir photos. For anyone who cares, the place was great, its called Majestic Colonial. If you want to know more: email me.

Some experimentation with exposure time:
4.3 second exposure taken at night. Camera sitting on the floor of a bridge walkway, overlooking the resort's pool.
This is the post-card shot. This one was actually taken with a point and shoot camera. I'm learning that the inconvenience of carrying a large camera and multiple lenses limits your photographic expeditions.

I'm taking a strong liking to my Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. The shot of the wooden lamp above was taken with it (some others on this site have been also). But I am constantly impressed by the crispness of portraits and general 'people pictures'. It was a very inexpensive and extremely versatile lens. I highly recommend it.

A lesson from vacationing ... having a nice camera and some decent photography skills is like being an excellent dentist or a world-class surgeon. No matter how good you or your equipment are - you can't use your skills on yourself. I handed over both of our cameras at least 20 times to strangers. The photos that were yielded were either 25 feet away, poorly composed, blurry, etc. I actually own a device that is a hand-held monopod made for taking photos of yourself - (maybe I'll write a review on it sometime) - in summary though, its of questionable value. Does anyone have any hints/tips on getting good photos of yourself taken by strangers?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How do you tuna fish?

Who photoblogs a picture of a tuna-fish sandwich? Uh, this guy. Taken at a great hour around 6-7pm, indoors but near the front door. Canon 50mm F/1.8 lens, tripod, (homemade) remote control, 1/3rd of a second shutter and F/1.8 aperture. I did some experimenting with exposure, and this one came out the best by far.

So why a tuna-fish sandwich? Firstly, because I'm hungry. Secondly, this one is unique. Its my sushi-inspired tuna sandwich. I got the initial idea from, which was essentially a tuna salad with some wasabi and ginger. I made the same, added some soy sauce and a little relish (nothing asian about relish) but it helps the whole hot and sour concept (and relish is always good with tuna). But my own take on the recipe is the lettuce topping. I topped this with a chopped mixed field green tossed in a dressing identical to that which always comes on salad at a sushi restaurant. I only had mixed greens, but to be more 'sushi-inspired' it should use iceberg lettuce. All in all, its an excellent modification of the classic tuna salad.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sunny day at Niagara

Should probably show you that big waterfall they have there also.

Da' Fallz @ Night

I just returned from a lil mini-vacation to Niagara Falls.  Here are a couple of photos from the sojourn.

I'm proud of this shot, its like a postcard. I was experimenting with shutter speeds and what not. This was actually taken with an 8-second exposure (at f/4, iso110). In my little viewfinder the pics I took prior at 2 and 4 seconds looked pretty good. This one was kind of a throw-away chance setting it that high. But it turned out to be the best of the bunch. I had no tripod, I actually just set the camera on top of the binoculars that they have there. This is my first experiment with shutter speed settings and night-time photography.

Some fireworks shots. Taken at a 1 second shutter speed. Thanks to some advice/links from Jeff it looks like I got my settings right. I pumped up the f-stop to around f/5.6 rather than keeping it wide open. From what I read, fireworks are actually pretty bright light, so you should close the aperture a bit to prevent over-exposure. Set the focus to manual and focused to infinity.
A random shot of the most high-tech ferris wheel you'll ever ride - with air-conditioned cars.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bars on the corner

Taken at the Sept. 11th Memorial at Eisenhower park.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

6 Years Old

My nephew on his birthday.
Some lens flare/glare or something has caused an angelic halo... not fooling me. (Just kidding, kinda) Can any photographic enthusiasts explain what happened? Pics taken with a a 50mm f/1.8 lens with a UV filter.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


It looks like they were filming a gatorade commercial.

Quack and Crack

I dont think I need to explain the title of this post. Aside from the humor of it, I do like the composition of this photo.

No one's invited

Its my party, and no one is invited. Now suppose I was to get all artsy on you, the picture might end up looking like this:

But some might cringe at that.